In January 1989, P.W. Botha suffered a stroke while preparing for the state opening of Parliament. Very unwisely from his point of view, he invited the National Party to elect a new leader in Parliament, though he had no intention of standing down as President. It was clear that the succession would be decided between two politicians — F.W. De Klerk and the Finance Minister, Barend du Plessis — with whom I had very friendly relations. General Magnus Malan, whom so many foreign observers had regarded as a likely successor, to my certain knowledge had just one vote in the parliamentary caucus — his own.


Finance Minister National Party Friendly Relation Security Police Military Intelligence 
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© Sir Robin Renwick 1997

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  • Robin Renwick

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